Aalto News

Aalto News - Collection

• Aalto is alive and well – in some new interpretations of a classic design
• Alvar Aalto Designer - Second Edition Released
• The Alvar Aalto Collection


Aalto is alive and well – in some new interpretations of a classic design

In 2008 Iittala introduces a number of new pieces to the Aalto collection in this year’s signature colours turquoise blue and black, as well a small collection of new premium products.

New premium products
Based on Aalto’s underlying idea of free form, the premium collection consists of two vases, hand-blown in a wooden mould (400 mm and 145 mm), a smoky grey bowl (380 mm), a serving bowl (340 mm) and an Aalto flower. These will all be in smoky grey, a new and very refined color that is perfect for bringing glass surfaces alive and creating new reflections.

Hand-blowing these new pieces calls for long experience, a careful eye, and a steady hand, and they highlight the continued importance of the craftsman in giving life to a vision like Aalto’s.

New colors in 2008: black and turquoise blue
There will also be several items in turquoise blue in Aalto Collection, and the most popular piece, the 160 mm Aalto vase, will be available in black. Black is one of the hardest colors to produce well in the glass world, and Iittala’s specialists have again had to call on all their expertise to make the black pieces a success. The result is a dense, deep black that gives every design in which it is used a very different and arresting feel.

Also, following the success of the range of duo-color Aalto vases launched in 2006 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Aalto vase, for 2008 Iittala has reversed the idea, putting white glass on the inside and smoky grey and turquoise blue on the outside – again showing how a classic design can be reinterpreted, and showcasing Iittala’s own skills in colored glass.

The continuing popularity of the Aalto vase has set many scholars and commentators thinking about what makes classic works of art such as this work so well. The Finnish artist and researcher Kimmo Sarje has described the Aalto vase as a meta-phenomenon:
“The Savoy vase is both a simple and functional everyday object and decorative piece and a highly effective, enduring symbol.” Celebrating Finnish Glass, 125 years of Iittala, p. 110.

Sarje himself was keen to debunk the myth surrounding Aalto back in the 1980s. In a true spirit of postmodernism, he held exhibitions in which he used Aalto’s signature stools in his own installations and images. He set up contrasts between old and new meanings in pieces such as a T-shirt that featured a number of Aalto’s distinctive forms alongside the master’s own phrase: “Form is a mystery”.

In reviewing the various Aalto exhibitions held in 2006 and how they were received, he highlights the longevity of Aalto’s vision. Despite all the popularization and reinterpretations of his work:
“…the original intention of his design language is still as dynamic as ever.” Celebrating Finnish Glass, 125 years of Iittala, p. 119.

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Alvar Aalto Designer - Second Edition Released

The first comprehensive illustrated book on the designs of Alvar Aalto appeared in early 2002. Articles written by experts shed light on many aspects of Aalto’s wide-ranging scope as a designer of furniture, Aalto cut glass and Aalto light fittings. It contains a wealth of fresh facts and previously unpublished pictorial material.

The second edition of this book is now available. The French edition will be published in the autumn 2003.

Alvar Aalto Designer runs to 240 pages and has 300 photographs, many in colour. Among the contributors are Timo Keinänen, Pekka Korvenmaa, Kaarina Mikonranta and Ásdís Ólafsdóttir. It is edited by Pirkko Tuukkanen. The design is by Niina Vainio.

The ’Alvar and Aino Aalto as Glass Designers' essay by Timo Keinänen MA describes the kind of glass objects produced by the couple and the factors underlying their creation.

A key section of the book concentrates on Aalto furniture design, a broader and more productive part of Aalto’s design work. The essay by Kaarina Mikonranta, Chief Curator of the Alvar Aalto Museum, focuses on the historical side of furniture design and objets d’art from the 1920s.

The book also contains an illustrated catalogue of the best-known designs of Aalto and their variations.

For more information on the book Alvar Aalto Designer, please visit the Alvar Aalto foundation: www.alvaraalto.fi

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The Alvar Aalto Collection

The Alvar Aalto collection – the icon of Scandinavian design revamped
Alvar Aalto’s sketches of bowls and vases of different sizes and heights, designed for iittala in 1936, are alive again. Alvar Aalto played with his wavy lines, sketching them in various sizes and heights.

iittala’s glass experts have turned these shapes into new size options which are suited to the wishes of contemporary consumers and which go along with the traditional sizes.

The newcomer for spring 2003 – the Aalto Finlandia, a vase for tall flowers – has been received enthusiastically. The Finlandia, named after a Helsinki landmark designed by Aalto – the Finlandia Hall – has risen to the top of wish lists. Flowers and vases are an essential element of interior decorating. The Aalto Finlandia vase is designed for contemporary flower arrangements, which are often tall and impressive.

Small Aalto bowls – Compact Scandinavian design culture
Tourists and design enthusiasts want to take a distinct souvenir of Scandinavian homes for themselves or as a present. Many are looking for a small object that embodies the Nordic experience – nature, people and life, the Finnish lakes in the four seasons. And Finnish architecture and design, of course.

Big ideas make for small, “loaded” presents
The small Aalto bowls were created by respecting Alvar Aalto’s original shapes and translating them into a smaller size. The bowls come in two sizes, 98 and 136 mm. Bowls are at once collectibles and functional objects. Miniatures of contemporary design classics from various fields are popular. The stylish and informative gift packages recount Aalto’s story and make the small bowls the ultimate gift that is easy to transport, for example, in your carry-on luggage on the plane.

The small bowls have just the right amount of room for people to exercise their imagination in. The shape inspires its user. Use them for serving, storing, decorating. Or collect them. The color choices are clear, blueberry blue, light blue and grey.

Aalto’s legacy sparks interest around the world International interest in the great 20th century Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is soaring around the world, especially in the United States, Japan, Australia and Spain. Aalto’s buildings are pilgrimage sites for architecture buffs and are being presented in exhibitions, books and various events. Aalto’s legacy is guarded by the Alvar Aalto Foundation. iittala’s glass Aalto collection brings his works to his fans for everyday enjoyment.

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